The Risk of Personal Injury During Mardi Gras
February 8, 2019 @ 4:34 pm
Well over a million people celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans alone. Likewise, cities throughout the United States attract their own revelers by the thousands. With all the people, activity and high spirits, danger becomes an inherent part of the mix. Some statistics from 2017’s 12-day event in New Orleans help to put it in perspective:
- Parking enforcement issued nearly 30,000 parking tickets, booted nearly 400 cars and towed an additional 729.
- Police arrested 373 people, made 177 gun arrests, seized 39 guns and found two more.
- New Orleans EMS responded to over 3,200 emergency service calls.
- City and Red Cross first aid stations assisted 550 people.
- The New Orleans Fire Department responded to 53 fires, 864 medical calls and more than 750 calls for service throughout the city.
- Between 600 and 850 workers were needed to collect parade debris and trash each day.
The risk of personal injury during Mardi Gras is real. Moreover, issues of negligence, liability and responsibility become more complex. Harm is often the result of third parties who may be unaware of their role in a situation or simply don’t care. Amid crowds and costumes, they may also be unidentifiable or unapproachable. Once the celebration is over, everyone goes home, and victims find themselves facing loss or injury alone.
Mardi Gras Dangers to Watch Out For
Before you grab a go cup, scream for beads or mambo down the parade route, be aware that danger can come from anywhere. Here are four common sources of Mardi Gras personal injury:
- Alcohol: Imbibing is a huge part of Mardi Gras, and few alcohol vendors question whether the latest patron has already had enough or too much during their bar crawl. In addition, bars may have to shut their front doors after 3 a.m., but customers can continue to enter and be served. The result is a constant supply of aggressive drunks and inebriated drivers who put everyone in danger. Particularly vulnerable are pedestrians jaywalking, walking in poorly lit areas, traveling along crowded streets, crossing through parking lots or navigating around areas with blockades or detours.
- Floats: Floats are noted for being elaborate and unwieldy. In fact, the longest Mardi Gras float ever was over 300 feet long, with room for 250 riders. Things don’t always go as planned, however. In 2018, for example, a float crashed into a telephone pole, which in turn crushed the float and sent at least two people to the hospital. In numerous other cases, moving parade floats have hit, injured and even crushed pedestrians. Unsecured float components have broken off or become loose and struck bystanders. Also in 2018, a float driver with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit drove a float into a crowd, injuring 28 people.
- Beads and Trinkets: Much fuss surrounds beads and other prized debris tossed from floats. However, mid-air grab competitions can result in flying elbows and broken bones. Tossed objects have also been known to strike spectators in the head, eyes or face and even knock them unconscious. Trying to scoop beads from the path of oncoming floats and tractors can be ill-advised as well. Add to that the fact that the beaded strings come apart easily and are attractive to small children. Months after the parades, pediatricians have reported having to remove beads from ears and noses.
Dealing With Personal Injuries After Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is a time that should be fun and exciting, but it’s also a time when all sorts of activities, events and people are packed into limited space. Victims are left wondering who they can turn to in order to set things right. In many cases, it can be hard to tell exactly who is responsible. If you get injured, it’s important to:
- Document the location of the incident and any involved parties.
- File a police report, if needed, and record any financial damages incurred.
- Keep records of any medical bills or hospital visits.
- Take pictures of injuries and damaged property
Should you go to court, these pieces of information can help solidify your case. If you have been injured and need legal advice, contact the lawyers at Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik at our website, or call 1-800-356-6776 to schedule your free consultation.